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flag China China: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources


Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Visit the official site of the Government of China for conditions of entering the country and for obtaining a Visa.
Consult the Exit Entry Administration Law (PRC)
Diplomatic Representations
Visit the Government of China website to find out the addresses of Consulates or Embassies of the People's Republic of China abroad.
IATA Travel Center

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Moving about in the city is mostly by taxis; there are a lot of them (60,000 in Beijing) and they are quite inexpensive. The size of the cities makes walking around difficult. The cities are very congested, so it is better to plan and leave early for an appointment. Beijing has 5 metro lines while Shanghai has 9 of them. Magnetic charge cards for the metro are very useful since they can be used to pay taxis also. They can be charged at all the metro station ticket counters and at the local grocery stores. Buses are plenty and cheap, but uncomfortable since they are often jam-packed.
Very important: Keep addresses of places where you want to go written in Chinese since the pronunciation does not often correspond to the transcription in Pinyin.
Maps of Urban Networks
University of Texas Library on line

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
Shanghai-Honggiao (SHA) 16 km / 10 miles CNY 60-100/25-40 min CNY 3 / 35-40 min - Available
Beijing-Capital (PEK) 28 km / 17 miles CNY 135 / 30-40 min CNY 16 / 45 min - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Bus: is the primary means of transport between cities.
Train: Generally in good condition although links are usually slow (for example: Canton-Beijing: 36 hours)
Airplane: Domestic companies have a low rate of accidents. The schedules are generally adhered to although the airports have reached their saturation levels.

Visit the China Vista website for further advice on the means of transport in China.

Rail Companies
Ministry of Railways (website in Chinese)

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Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Air China Major Yes Yes
China Southern Airlines Major Yes Yes
Jetstar/Jetstar Asia/Valuair low cost No Yes
Shanghai Airlines Major Yes Yes
China Eastern Airlines Major Yes Yes
Spring Airlines low cost Yes No
Elong Major Yes Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

The state of the road network, which is rapidly developing, is overall satisfactory on the major roads although they are poorly marked. Driving in China is risky. It is better to rent a car with a driver or to hire a driver if you buy a car.
Find an Itinerary
Google Maps

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Different Forms of Tourism

Modern China has not quite obliterated ancient China as yet but ancient China is only surviving with difficulty.
Museums, temples, etc.
In the west, Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, Xinjiang, large stretches of land
Several Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian temples .
No spas in the European sense
The Hainan island, Sanya, the city of Qingdao in the Shandong province.
Winter Sports
Not well developed.
Outdoor Activities
Big department stores and shopping malls are being built all over the country. Western brands are established in the main Chinese cities. Markets such as Xiushui street and the antique market Panjiayuan in Beijing are good places to buy souvenirs.
Tourism Organizations
China National Tourist Office (CNTO)

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
There is no mandatory vaccination but vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B, meningococcal disease and poliomyelitis are strongly recommended. In Yunnan and the island of Hainan, as well as in the provinces of Guangxi and Guizhou, vaccination against Japanese encephalitis is advised if you are staying in the countryside.
International Hospitals
In big Chinese cities, there are well-equipped international hospitals with adequate medical standards; the doctors are foreigners and Chinese and speak English.
World Clinic
World link
However, in case of serious problems, you are recommended to avoid hospitals in China and get shifted to Hong Kong or Thailand (Bangkok).
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Ministry of Health, People's Republic of China
World Health Organization
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
Travel advice is provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada.

Emergency Numbers

Police 110
Fire brigade 119
Ambulance 120 (or 999 in some places)
Road Accident 122
Directory enquiries 114

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Beijing (GMT+8. Officially, a single time, Beijing time for the entire country. However, in the Xinjiang province, there is a lag of two hours with respect to Beijing time (usage).)
Summer Time Period
No time change in China.

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
In the southern part of China the climate is hot and very humid especially in summer; in the north the climate is continental.
For Further Information
China Meteorological Administration
World Meteorological Organization

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall



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Food Specialties
Chinese cuisine is one of the richest and most refined cuisines in the world. There are four regional varieties:
- Beijing and Shandong cuisine gives a lot of importance to steamed noodles and the specialties are Peking duck and Beggar's chicken (wrapped in lotus leaves and cooked over the embers for a whole day);
- Cantonese and Chaozhou cuisine is the most famous Chinese cuisine abroad. It favors steam cooking, boiled or sautéed preparations and among its specialties are the dim-sum (small, steamed or fried dishes), snake soup, dog, rat or owl stew;
- Eastern Chinese cuisine specializes in spare ribs, seafood and soups;
- The Sichuan cuisine is said to have 4,000 dishes, among which gonbao jiding (chicken fried with peanuts and chili peppers), mapo doufu (pork with tofu and onions), guoba roupian (puffed rice served with pork in its gravy).
Shanghai cuisine in which the cuisines of North and South China meet, is quite sweet. The most popular dishes are xiaolongbao.
Beer (píjiÇ”) is very common in China and is served everywhere. The most popular label is Tsingtao. Chinese beers are light and generally have an alcohol content of 3%-4%. Their price is from 2.5 to 4 CNY in stores, 6 CNY to 20 CNY in restaurants, about 20 CNY in a regular bar and 30 CNY to 60 CNY in the trendiest bars.
Red wine is common and reasonably priced at 15 CNY in stores and about 100-150 CNY in trendy bars. Great Wall, Chang Yu and Dynasty are the major labels with wines at different prices.
BáijiÇ” , The Chinese people often translate baijiu (Lit. "white alcohol") as "white wine", but this sorghum spirit has 40-60% alcohol.
Dietary Restrictions
Culinary restrictions vary from one religion to another.

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Domestic Currency
Chinese Yuan (Renminbi)
ISO Code
To Obtain Domestic Currency
You cannot buy Yuan/Renmingbi outside China. The best method is to withdraw cash with an international card at the local ATMs.
Possible Means of Payment
American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard/MasterCard and Visa in the authorized establishments in the main cities. The availability of ATMs is often limited.

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Official Language
In China, the national language is Mandarin. However, it is to be noted that there are many different dialects and variants of it.
Other Languages Spoken
There are more than a hundred dialects. You can differentiate Mandarin in the north and Cantonese in the south of the country. The official language coexists with the other languages of the autonomous regions (Mongolian, Uyghur, Korean, Tibetan...).
Business Language
When the foreigners do not speak Chinese, business discussions are generally held in English. The Chinese do not speak English as well as they read or write it.
Free Translation Tools
Babel Fish Translation : Text Translation

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Useful Resources

To Find an Accommodation
3 star hotels

To Find an Apartment
Century 21

Private rentals announcements online
To Find a Job (in Chinese)

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Last Updates: January 2015